The first episode was set two weeks ago in the future Nullarbor Plain. Cassette players, deceased goannas, and kookaburras were not mentioned. Written in the past, it dealt with present-day reminiscences in the apocalyptic future. The wind was blowing, water was scarce, and nothing happened. Episode 2 is similar.
Words arise from other words, a twisting,
an entanglement that never completes itself.
Thoughts I’ve disinterred I recite with fake solemnity.
The kookas on the clothesline emit embarrassed laughs
and find the sky.
Ruled meaning peters out with each disintegration;
no change, no advertorial aphorisms. No unlearning
what I hold close against the inner ether, in a life
that would have been better lived without me.
A small band of the alive and the less so
straggled across the Plain of Nullity.
They wondered whether it was lunch time,
and what that might be about.
Deidre, tall with short glasses,
who overflowed with scientific plausibility,
held up a statistically somewhat lizard.
Once I welded water, slowed its passage
in the sunset creeks, and proved that ghosts do not exist.
Now I’ve found a dead goanna.
I have an enormous lens that I plan to solar cook it with.
Most were pleased, except for Paulo,
an immigrant from Nocturnia,
who was offended.
Keen John Person offered his assistance.
I’m just an unpaid desert extra,
employed to furnish feeble atmospherics,
but I found these rusty stripes growing in a curled-up bush,
hiding from the wind behind a broken concrete hedge.
I’m thinking garnishing for the lizard.
Deidre considered his find.
The prevalent winds have blown it here,
it’s residue from long lost Sydney.
Not to everybody’s taste, but if I had a player,
we might rewind a little music.
While we chewed the stringy cassette tape
and nibbled on goanna, John P made conversation.
You’re a quiet one.
- Nocturnia, the land of eternal darkness, and ghosts, who seem to like it.
- João Pessoa (John Person) was a famous Brazilian. In the future, the surname ‘Person’ could be useful for distinguishing regular people from spectres, androids, extraterrestrials etc.
- Cassette tape used to accumulate at traffic islands.